Godel's Proof and The Human Condition - The Basic Essays

The Poetry of Reality

These poems, I think
are all the same-
they smell -no, stink
of 'glass bead game'-

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Table of Contents
Once Village Life
Recipe for Arthur W.
Stray Dog
The Harbinger of Spring
Labor Day - 1975
Ecce Homo
Oktoberfest and Expiation
Her Morning-Song
Fall, Late Afternoon - Omen
The Modes of Death
Alone and Unwhole -an assemblage
To Sylvia Plath et al
Thanksgiving 1974
The Evanescent Brush - The Crab
With Apologies to The Artist
To David of The Hair-up-his-ass
To R.L.
An Admonition
To E.
To A Persimmon
Figs and Snow
To Sylvia Plath et al

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I recognized it at a distance
-alone on the cliff -watching me
-the outsider society brushes past.

He dwelled too long watching me -but,
and he followed me down to the ocean
-at a 'measured', unsure distance.

And when I went back up -passing him,
I nodded 'Hi' -knowing he would only
mumble in return -and continue on down.

And I left him there on the shore,
alone on the shore -200 feet below
staring out to sea,
knowing that he would search again -and again,
for any someone who might warm
his bleak outsidedness.

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Once Village Life

I never did but cry when
-as a child,
I sat down to eat what was
another family pig
I had grown to love.

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The time must come when
we put aside recipes untried,
socks unmended, old fabrics
too pretty to be used -when
the bottled nuts and bolts
-the springs, the locks
unused -waiting,
wait unused

-the memorabilia of hope,
the rusty steel of life.

The time must come when
cease to lie -lotions,
Elixirs de Leon -when we
fail our bite to the night-soak
and think not -care not, of that
breath that does not count anyhow
-when reason mirrors wrinkles
-undreams romance.

-hooked rugs of might-have-done,
school albums, what not become,
leather bottles, convalescing sun
-and the quieting ice.

When I read the Sports/
Society page, I ask myself -them,
'How will you go down?
-willingly? -with,
if not a Bang, a Whimper?
-if not with, without
the Apotheosis of Drug?'

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It burns my throat -it burns my heart-.
Last night I over-drank again -
with weak excuse I found the time
and lamented my weakness
and wasted the time
and cursed the world with weak excuse
and lamented the time
and seared my throat another excuse

-and lost my love.

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He stepped on my toe
and I struck him;
childhood vanished
-the first bird died.

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Recipe for Arthur W.

Five ounces caviar
(poverty commends carp)
Four cloves garlic -thin-sliced
wherethrough the burnt-gold may breath.

Oil of olive -green earthen musk
enough to gentle harmony
juice of one-half lemon
-Trinity! Sea, Earth, Air!

Vessel, bread -coarse wheat wherein
the elemental Grain is god
soft wine to anoint my mind -and
leave me now -to Paradise!

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Stray Dog

The dog running in the street
was it stray? -when run-over
was it lost? -by its best friend
was it loved? -and happy?
-running this green earth?
was it kept? -as in our innocence?
-and ignorance? -we keep ourselves?
-less run-over in the street?

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Late afternoon sun -shadows/light
make strange my own table
the floor -wall.

Leaf-shadows -fractioned garden trees
pin-pointed light -splintered sun
wind breathes to evanescent life
hard-edge and light -.

I watch enchanted -
cry inward of the failing day - .

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Mirror confrontations -
where Physics precludes Vanity.
An alter ego -the reflected eye
catching -caught as prismed past
unseeing and snagged
on the beveled edge of glass
-links me eye to eye.

It is a face that I knew yesterday
now see more searching -more demanding
and each day succeeding day -
more familiar -more remote.

It is my father's eye
that goes like Fathers'
down, down -down - .

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The Harbinger of Spring

Presume -
age -infirmity -dysfunction
-the left side paralyzed
-the bottom rotted out
(The Ship of Life
on a Sea of Rock)
between child and you
-and cry.

When -ever? -did your Magician father
say -display these charms of
legerdemain? -deja-vu?

When did your mother say -
'Watch this sleight-of-hand
as days (and nights) transform
baby-fat into pill record?
-add to the Normal Curve?'

Not of their indifference
nor of your own that -when
wooed politely in old age
You too choose sailing on the sunny waves.

Each face grows quietly -anonymity
loose bowels and death-leaks.

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Sunflower runs clockwise
-and counter-clockwise -
'Fibonacci n' one direction
'n+1' the other -.
-Stands tall and
gold-smiling too!

The ways of God are
many -and beautiful, but
Sunflowers will undo him -.

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Grim Reaper on my doorstep once
announced himself -I did not hear -
door open -the city lights distracting
I looked past him -wondering who knocked -

Labor Day - 1975

John Doe -this Labor Day -
puts child upon his head
and sun/beer flushed-happy
chortles circle-round.

The Sunday (Monday) paper lies a pile unread
(-good friends make thin the bestest news).

Wife -pin-curler-free
Colonel Sanders from a box
and K-FOX sings
Tupperware is King.

(There is departure here -
Let us rise to it with stamina -as
some few honest judges do
-guilty at their own trials.)

300 days a year at work he is a common prick
300 days a year her head a fright of steel -
their souls are smoothly vandalized
-in Our-Fathers of TV.
We are the Salt of the Earth
that has deaded the Seas!

-Oh brackished Springs of Eden!

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Ecce Homo

He'd rear upon his legs and remind me he'd
read Herodotus (thirty years ago -IQ 170)
and then he'd bray -'Nothing much escapes me'
except (that is, he didn't say)

Son and daughter -to the South High track team
and Pop Warner (reverse order)
his wife -to the mainstream that foundered him
friends -the small deceptions of camaraderie and cars
life -watching the Rams of his Neolithic Youth.

He cited their accomplishments
-ignored their ignorance of him.

He slivered his throat with cigarettes
and rubbered his liver with booze;
I lost count with my bloodied ears
Lithium -Valium -Antabuse.

He even said once that he
hated being called 'Shorty'
-'You must have felt the same'
I didn't -I never knew the name.

But I cared for him
-because no one then later did.

We rebelieved the Thermodynamics
and litanied the failings of Man
-and ourselves to ourselves
and sunlit the dark confessionals
to illumine the body of Everyman.
(Brassy, but it makes no never-mind.)

What then -when everything fails
when the canon of one's life
leaves not enough to diagnose
-not spirit enough for bullet
-not flesh enough for drug?

Purpose never bid -Reason never begged -
He lay down amid the shambles of his life
-and died.

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I drown in a sea of Oil
feet asphalted, eyes boiled
body benzene-ringed in Oil.

Where yesterday rose woods
before our dark-age thirst
curve now roads among
the obscured Stars.

The Cedars no more -
antiquity-gone -with
descended Birds
the vanished Blue

-erased 'god's bestiary.

I numbered once
savage fifty-thousand
and drown now -raised fist
by the billions -in Oil.

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Oh see in yours
the burgeoning of me
Eyes lost -the sighs -
the murmurings to paradise
and you in mine -
-mirr'd smiles - .

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Oktoberfest and Expiation

(I am common and small and drink too much and
-more things are wrong than last-night's -)

Oh beating head -
I laughed and danced and drank too much
-and fell in love three times
(and I think they with me)
Now have the sadness of the afterdance
the loves inconsummate
-the headache.

Ten in the morning -I am still drunk
stumble to the bathroom -
piss and gagging-finger
-water to dim the agonies -it does not
-to swathe the dullness of my pain -

I want warmth
-yearn for warmth
-I crave the sun.

Bed to bathroom -and back to bed
-crave the sun
-fetal -soft curl to embryo.
Among the quiet dark house shadows
thru the shudder of my gloom
-Last Evening glows.

Dim -birds to the cloud-burning sun
I cannot wait to lie in it

to lie in it
to bathe myself in it
to unfold myself to the sun.
The Sun is a redemption
that thru my closed eyes
streams to soul and quietly
raises me to the cross - .

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Her Morning-Song

Late and groggy -
my mouth foul with ash and booze
daylight pries these puffy eyes to
that grubby thing beside
that stuck its dick in me.

A drunken love that
leaves a corpulence
beneath the sheet -
We do not speak
beyond mouthings
-it has no grace.

That two-backed ganglion
that screwed last night
smiles now -plasticized.

Not love carried off my ass
-dead heart succumbed - .

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Fall, Late Afternoon - Omen

The sun rises a little less each day
even now, unseen -obscured by clouds
-it rises low.

Where summer days flowed halcyon
these work deep inside of me.

Flowers fruited -bees quieting
-butterflies past, posterity cocooning.

Green leaves begin to brown
-whispers to dry rustle.

It seems these greens are touched
as is my skin by clouded breeze.

There is a breathlessness in me
as if suddenly is seen
dark spectre
on a humanly too distant hill
-tomorrow's fewer winters.

It does not surface to the lips
-when will this summer be the last?

The growing chill bears down
-hastening sinusoid that plunges-

-bottoms quietly in winter.

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The Modes of Death

We die by losing sanity
confusing time and yesterdays
We die in body segments of
cortisoned skins and quiet Orinase
We die aloneingly amid
mortgages and vanished friends
We die in gnarling fingers and
toothless gums on flatted gruels
We die abed in sifted ruminations.

We die of fallen leaves
and winter without Spring
We die -wondering how we die
and live and dream

-and die at graveside
long since dead.

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Alone and Unwhole -an assemblage

Fractions are my numbers
shrapnel dreams and
quartered hopes
-twitches in anxiety.

And if I take my cigarette
and slice my throat
and choke my liver with good/
bad/indifferent wine -
see me only as small stain
on a fabric of despair.

Ill-conceived -worse borne
we dally into life -and exit
falling from a rocking-chair.

Where once rang harmonies in youth
to life well ill-perceived
comes now (Innocent Surprise!)
-the claxon Vita Breva!

I kick dogs when I rail at God
because walls hurt my knuckles.

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Black morn before daybreak
hillside above the sea -chill
and a wet cloud -wrap quietly
around my seeing-eye lamp.

The footsteps are mine
the quiet is my own -.

Oh dark frightening World!
where only hours ago -was
Oh -it must come


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The child-cat springs
fours off the floor;
Ears back -eyes big
and bites my toes
with sharp first teeth
and claws my wrist
Damn hand too slow!

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To Sylvia Plath et al

You should not -not-write
You should -write.

We should -
'get your shit together'
before we platitude -
(portable parcels preferably).

You piss me off -
you arrived with death
and went
green as come
seeing what beyond?
the Terrors of the Dark?
(Perhaps not even that -).

You piss me off - .

I cannot pick my nose
while reading Nabokov.

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Thanksgiving 1974

I woke late -
the day was instantly white
of those days that fail
morning, noon -night.

Veiled sun -late fall
when only the clock keeps time
not even hunger -finds a proper way.

If this world should end on such a day -it is that
my heart cannot find a proper way
to night -as that light fails.

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Canopy -my womb -my parturition
Earth -blue sky and seas
and rememberd flowers -forgotten tears.

The ceilinged bowl -my impassive sun
night-light -moon -starless firmament.

Sterility by day -shadows by night.

The Evanescent Brush - The Crab

Where comfort flowed in quiet dark
fear snagged a way into the warmth
humbly first -time nurtured fear
and quietly -Fear grew to Majesty.

Pain teared nights from day
past food -sleep -to leave behind
-rememberings to remember -now
-inside-out -sedated nothingness.

Visiting eyes come speak to me
uncertainties of baleful depths
where god failed -and leave
seeing bedclothes and plumbing -
the transom view of a darker side.

(Where now the rustling leaves?
-the giggly bed-time toes?)
Enters my friend distractedly
I cannot hear
mumbles to himself
I cannot hear
draws quiet gun-shot
I cannot hear

transcends me from this dream
I cannot hear.

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With Apologies to The Artist

The artist glibs knowledge
of his craft when (if) he arrives.
Before that, 'He did his own thing'.

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The air was never pure
it was -but air -that
bore butterflies and
distant Sweet Alyssum
and at home -
fragrances and sunlight
-never death.

It brings me now
what I have sown -
tetra-ethyl lead
butylated hydroxy-
toluenes -and
urbaned remnants

-life once-was.

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Sitting at my desk -
the work escapes me
and I founder.
At the corner of my eye
the calendar photo -
Sometimes they seem too much alive
as if -not image
or capture of a moment-
The standing family does not age
-photo begets photo -
Fingered, dimpled, forgotten
each fades to memorabilia.
-belies once-youth.
-they are imprisonment.
The wind-bent leaf strains to rest
the horse-eye watches
-wary of my move.

The heart does not return the mind to work - .

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To David of The-hair-up-his-ass

The coiled spring lay in his brain
packed heat -the iron of visceral hard-on.
Quiet demurral sprang his vengeance
Dada triggered the insanity -Oh Splenetics!
Civilities vanished
He cave-manned -decorticate.

I appealed with sweet words -labored sighs
(Yes, even apology sincere) but -
he was not eating with me.

Let us conduct ourselves as cancerous
as cancerous we are to ourselves
and each other -and let us be kind.

And I say -
Fuck you -David of The-hair-up-your-ass!

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To R.L.

I rise to each day's must-be-done
mechanically -remembering dim
each night-before's -dreams.

I eat -I sleep -
I am my brother's keeper
and when the income-tax is due
and the faucet leaks
I shudder small -and
curse small loss.

When my friend mentions smilingly her suicide
failed -showing stitches where her heart was not
I think -not only were you joy to love
but brought me flowers too.

Long ago -in youth -before
apostasy put knife in hand
-she cared forever.

How will I rise tomorrow -mechanically again?
How will I find -where the heart is not?

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An Admonition

Do you remember grass sprung new?
light rain about, and smiles -that
close the eyes for loves that were?

Do you remember dreams that grew
with spring? -and rose above the trees
to lose themselves among the clouds?

Young arms yearn to bend the world
young visions learn to die - .
We are promised
-transport beyond stars -
we have roaches gnawing at our toes.

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To E.

Your rich black earth
the risen mound-
I bloom!
-daffodil of your sun -

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To A Persimmon

Oh wanton fruit! Oh Venus Mound!
Passion's song -lubricious sound
to lie there so and bid me sate
thy ripened soul to violate!

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Key in lock -poetic anticipant
it works -I wait
through the window -watch
bear traffic's indisposition.

Oh Heart! She comes!
approaches casually
and I amble out - .
But the glows already meld
and the fingers press
and giggles dance where
feet tred publicly - .

Oh love! -the steps!
the five -the ten -the fifty feet!

Door! Bed! Floor!
Oh Nuding String! Pull!
God! The pain anticipation!
Sun warbles through the leaves
and brights your face -

smiles that are me in you - .

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My grey cat is not grey
-she is brown
not only is she brown
but she is dead.

I put her out yesterday
her Eskimo on the ice -
because she ate too much
and drank too much water
compulsively -and slept too much
because she was 20 years old
and cute no more and
-because she was old.

She pee'd indiscriminately and
crapped only somewhat less so
(because ass-motion in in the act
gave me time to [hee-hee] 'nip it in the bud').

She was skin and bones, and creaked
when she walked, leaving flea
nits and shit extrusions -scientist I am,
checked them both under the glass.

Her hearing was gone
that too, human with age
but I'd call her to sit with me
(I really did like her) and she'd
purr back the years to kittenhood
to young rejuvenated claws
-kneading bread.

(Oh, this story does go on, but
it's not the cat we're talking about.)

I kept her young beyond her years -
when her body wanted the dark
consolation of her bed
I'd put her out -not in the cold
but in the freshening brisk of Winter
(10 minutes) to raise her hair
and make her senses work -and
they did what she'd forgotten -
ears forward -nose rhythmic
eyes re-sharpened night-piercing tools.

And daylight -
whiskers radiant -
God, she loved that Sunshine!

I have writ my epitaph in these lines
-a thousand times.

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Figs and Snow

Round -plump -lovely -
tasty-gritty -
soft -.

Glad to be alive, they
save their sunny days
for red, winter cheeks.

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To Sylvia Plath et al

The want of critic
does not a poet make -.
(She did go so you know.)

We demur to sensitivity
-we praise on suicide.

feedback? -perryb@condition.org
Last modified: January 17, 2008


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The Visit

Though only past acquaintance, reason enough
to visit briefly - remnant shade
now abandoned to this home.
Leave that it once glowed
that this bodied shell
surged life - it
now lies

I visit -
restlessness in me
dispassion in him.

Brazen youth - we knew
fine points of order and
struck autonomies of thought -
dismissed infinities with finality.
(And often too, sang into the night!)

He does not hear - he does not move
he does not see - he is asleep.

We daily ourselves to earn our stay
each from birth - his own rest home -


Quotidian rules
bread on table
compress on pained soul

time gnaws away the thrall;

lastly - .

Small Homage to The Foot of Pablo N

I rise protozoan - less
to evolve - the convoluting Grey

Somewhere between - the Shoe contains the Foot
somewhere beyond - the Foot emerges Butterfly

Desire is not enough to dream - to soar
more than the foot Mercure-winged.

cannot cage that convolving
grey-into-dove -
- unshod it roots but
diurnal frame in ooze.

He said then -
I want to fly
therefore I need
help - before I fail
to help - before I fall.

The containing Shoe bequeathed
so too the Butterfly

I would rather - pale dove that flew.

Ramblings - Love Lost

She dared my senses when she spoke
flashed undulations of another time
- hills beyond these - .

I felt her sentient mist
embrace the sun-broke forest
- and fell in love with her.

Long in this fern-world
I would reach above these root demands
of needed wet and zenith sun
- to rathered pain -
still I stay for
nurture in the misty light.
Stop! You go to far - for
moments measured meekly
in canescent years
- a span of vignettes
irrecoverable thee-and-I's.

I love without return
and of rathered pain
- but enough to scar.

Our Lines Remain All Well Unread
(and each one has so much to say)

Why this maid?
reluctant muse who
seldom seen, less heard
so finds herself alone
- and wooed, seldom won?
'Poet! What appeals within your thick-
tongued innocence - Heaven's Exegesis?'
(clumsy oaf!)

'Nay Sir! Assertions that fly - that soar
from the heart to a Place in The Sun!' (Too! Too!)
(Fucking idiot!!)

Oh, the kindling warmth - the eyeless brilliance!
the words, the thoughts, the incantations!
Song, Hymn, Paean - Zeus-sprung Wisdom - Liebestod Love!

Were it so - still we do go on somehow
ignorant and innocent
impatient to suicide -
ourselves seldom seen
less heard - still wooing
- still less to say -.

To E Hopper

Pastels that overlay life
- and bare its poverty.

No wind blows -
no tree sighs -
no flower perfumes
no bird-song -
no dog howls beneath no moon.

Light and long shadows
aureolight and empty shadows
immobilight, solitude and shadows.

None moves -
all stop in doing
in not doing - in waiting
in not waiting - in hoping
in not hoping - in nothing.

Sunday Mornings's empty sunlit street
cafeteria's lone coffee cup
hotel-room's penitence
evening's gas-stop.

None seeks another - each sits.
They do not stand and wait and also serve -
they are only - one, two, three - .